Inside Out & Back Again

Inside Out & Back Again For All The Ten Years Of Her Life, H Has Only Known Saigon The Thrills Of Its Markets, The Joy Of Its Traditions, And The Warmth Of Her Friends Close By But Now The Vietnam War Has Reached Her Home H And Her Family Are Forced To Flee As Saigon Falls, And They Board A Ship Headed Toward Hope In America, H Discovers The Foreign World Of Alabama The Coldness Of Its Strangers, The Dullness Of Its Food And The Strength Of Her Very Own Family

Thanhha Lai was born in Vietnam At the end of the war, she fled with her family to Alabama There, she learned English from fourth graders She then spent the next decade correcting her grammar Starting her writing life as journalist, she worked at The Orange County Register She switched to fiction, leading to an MFA from New York University and short story publications in various journals and

❮Read❯ ➭ Inside Out & Back Again Author Thanhha Lai –
  • Hardcover
  • 262 pages
  • Inside Out & Back Again
  • Thanhha Lai
  • English
  • 24 December 2019
  • 9780061962783

10 thoughts on “Inside Out & Back Again

  1. says:

    No one would believe mebut at timesI would choosewartime in Saigonoverpeacetime in Alabama. I d been saving this for when my kids got a little older so we could read it together, but when Helen Hoang mentioned it in the author s note for The Bride Test, I knew I couldn t wait that long No matter, I ll read it again with them in a few years It s a beautiful little book.Inside Out Back Again is a free verse poem that tells the tale of a Vietnamese family fleeing South Vietnam just before the fall of Saigon in 1975 Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees arrived in other countries at this time and many died in the attempt, but this is the first book I ve read about it As Lai explains in the note at the end, it is largely based on her own experiences.H is only ten years old and doesn t want to leave the place she has lived and loved her whole life Not only that, but she fears her missing father will never come back to them if they leave Vietnam But leave they do And when the family arrive in Alabama, they are met with suspicion and racism Neighbors refuse to talk to them until they convert to Christianity, which they do, and even then H faces bullies every day at school.The dark themes are tempered somewhat by H s indomitable spirit, but it is still incredibly sad H remembers Vietnam as a place of papaya trees and delicious food, of beautiful smells and friendship Lai uses the punchy free verse to spin a whirlwind of evocative imagery, scents, and tastes around the reader It is very effective And it makes the cruel, unforgiving place H arrives in seem even unattractive.I felt reminded of a quote from America Is Not the Heart while reading this story Baggage means no matter how far you go, no matter how many times you immigrate, there are countries in you you ll never leave. The racism and bullying in this book are predictably horrifying to read, but what makes it even sad is that it is ultimately about the mourning of a country once loved that doesn t fully exist any It is infuriating to see white Americans treat H like she should be grateful for what they give her, when all she wants is her beloved home back.Gorgeous and heartbreaking.Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube

  2. says:

    Inside Out Back Again, Thanhha LaiInside Out Back Again is a verse novel by Thanhha Lai The book was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for Young People s Literature and one of the two Newbery Honors The novel was based on her first year in the United States, as a ten year old girl who spoke no English in 1975 Inside Out and Back Again is a story about a young girl named Kim H and her family being forced to move to the United States because the Vietnam War had reached their home, and it was no longer safe They board a navy ship and flee Upon spending a couple months at a refugee camp, they end up moving to Alabama There she struggles with learning English and confronting bullies, including one that she nicknamed Pink Boy, at her new school H at one point said, No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama Eventually, she has pushed through those hard times with the help of their next door neighbor, Mrs Washington and the support of her family In the beginning of the book, it mentions that H s father, a soldier in the Vietnam war, was captured by the North Vietnamese Army when she was only a year old In the end, H s family figures out that unfortunately, her father had died while in North Vietnamese hands H then gets used to living in the U.S and her family celebrates the new year She prays for good things to happen to her and her family The main resolution of the book is family importance 2016 1395 318 9786003910256 21 1395 262 9786008111641

  3. says:

    This review originally appeared on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves I now understandwhen they make fun of my name,yelling ha ha ha down the hall when they ask if I eat dog meat,barking and chewing and falling down laughingwhen they wonder if I lived in the jungle with tigers,growling and stalking on all fours.I understandbecause Brother Khoinodded into my headon the bike ride homewhen I asked if kidssaid the same thingsat his school.Thanhha Lai writes her verses in her award winning middle grade novel in verse, Inside Out and Back Again, from the heart, and memory of deeply felt experience.She poignantly and artistically brings emotion, both painful and joyful, straight from the page and into the senses She recounts her family s escape before the fall of Saigon through the eyes and the voice of Ha Ma With other refugees they re packed into small, often unsanitary quarters on a ship that will take them to safety, freedom and a new culture Ha Ma, her brother Quang remembers, was as red and fat as a baby hippopotamus when he first saw her, thus inspiring her name, Vietnamese for river horse He could not have imagined that in a few years her name would become the stick that tormented her in a foreign land Alabama far from her beloved Saigon.I taught in a public high school for many years and some of my students were children of those leaving their homelands in search of a better or freer life Children that were just like Ha Ma I went through the process to become certified to teach English as a Second Language Yet with all my training and experience I realize that I could not have known the real pain these children lived with each day, in a new and strange environment.Reading Inside Out and Back Again brought me insights I d never considered Perhaps it is an all too human failing to believe we have understanding.Emily Dickinson wrote that she knows something is poetry when,it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me I know that is poetry If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry These are the only ways I know it Is there any other way No, Emily, there is no other way Verse or poetry distills experience into its most elemental form It drips with love, scorn, hope, desperation, faith and understanding Feeling the confusion of a small child in beautifully constructed lines brings a childlike dimension of understanding of the heart of experience.The reader experiences this in Inside Out and Back Again, when the family is on a ship swaying in the ocean, headed for another country Ha s fatherless family drifts rocking back and forth seeing only water stretching before them endless and overwhelming At only ten years of age, she comes to the realization that she has only her mother and brothers.The father lives in the family s minds as a rainbow of hope Still they must move forward to escape certain death If they stay in Vietnam they would likely be caught up in the throes of a lost war facing a dark, uncertain future After a long time at sea, a sponsor from America boards their ship to bring them to a small Alabama town to begin a new life in a strange, odd land.Thanhha Lai s writing is such that while reading, I found myself imagining myself as a child seeing someone who looks so different reaching out for my family, offering home, hope, hospitality and happiness, yet, still not feeling emotionally safe.All the whileshame.This year I hopeI truly learn Needless to say, Inside Out and Back Again is most deserving of all of its aclaim If you re not accustom to reading novels in verse, this would be a wonderful choice with which to start, as the writing is very tight and the story is completely absorbing

  4. says:

    I m practicingto be seen This book grabbed my attention with its beautiful cover, and I m really glad that it did Inside Out and Back Again tells the tale of Kim H and her journey during wartime in Vietnam.H and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward Alabama.In America, the family has to start anew, where they discover the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape and the strength of their very own family Oh, my daughter,at times you have to fight,but preferablynot with your fists I wasn t expecting to read this so fast, but I simply could not put it down I especially appreciated the love this family held for one another during such difficult times.However, the format of the story made me feel a bit disconnected from the tale I felt like I was getting a glimpse into someone s life, but not being fully immersed into it I wanted to feel connected to the family and know a bit of their past.But overall it was a poignant and important story that will be on my mind for the next few days.3.5 stars Note I m an Affiliate If you re interested in buying Inside Out Back Again , just click on the image below to go through my link I ll make a small commission Support creators you love Buy a Coffee for nat bookspoils with

  5. says:

    Find all of my reviews at those of you who know me, you might remember last year I discovered my youngest was failing to get his required nightly reading completed by opting to sit on the toilet and stare at the wall for 20 minutes every night rather than ever opening a flippin book That little revelation led to us buddy reading Wonder Unfortunately the boy child still appears to have been swapped with someone else s baby and has yet to discover the wonderful world of book loving, so we are buddying up again this year After having much success with The Outsiders and All American Boys he took his teacher s recommendation and we ended up with this one and wow what an important and timely little book it was.Told in verse, Inside Out and Back Again is about H , a young girl growing up in war torn Vietnam With the fall of Saigon, H s family realizes they can no longer hold on to the hope of remaining in their country and flee to America via ship Upon reaching a refugee camp in Florida, H s mother chooses Alabama as their final destination in hopes that her children can have the life she dreamed of college, families, careers, etc This is the story of H s first year in America.First things first, since this was told in verse my kiddo was able to read it in only a couple of days which made him feel AWESOME so thank you Thanhha Lai for that format And most importantly, to the messages presented You deserve to grow upwhere you don t worry aboutsaving half a bite of sweet potato Everyone knows the shipcould sink,unable to holdthe piles of bodiesthat keep crawling onlike raging antsfrom a disrupted nest.But no oneis heartless enoughto saystopbecause what if they had beenstoppedbefore their turn Mother says,People share when they know they have escaped hunger.Shouldn t we sharebecause there is hunger They are something we should all be thinking of Now I need a little bit of help choosing our next book I m leaning toward Sherman Alexie, but not 100% committed We ve definitely found a formula that is working topics that are relevant to today, the shorter the better so dude feels like he s making progress and maintains interest, NO instalovin mumbo jumbo, NO dystopia, would prefer something that is not a potential required read i.e., The Lord of the Flies, The Chocolate War, etc Thanks in advance for any suggestions

  6. says:

    Read this straight through in one evening It repeatedly put me in mind of an outstanding teacher at my school, whose family immigrated to the United States when she was about Ha s age When we had a Guess That Baby Picture contest at school, she brought a school photo of herself around the age of 8, because that was all she had There were no baby photos of her, no visual memories of her early years they were too poor for photographs All through this book I kept thinking, I wonder if this is what it was like for her, and I have to give her a copy of this book, see what she thinks of it Me I thought it was wonderful I am always drawn to novels written in free verse The form forces a talented author to show clarity and emotion with minimal language, and Lai s is just beautiful It helped me understand what it would feel like to move from a familiar, beloved homeland to a new country with foreign customs, words, foods, and faces, to suddenly feel stupid because you cannot communicate verbally Entitled Feel Dumb, this poem expresses that feeling succinctly MiSSS SScott points to me, then to the letters of the English alphabet.I say A B C and so on.She tells the class to clap.I frown MiSSS SScott points to the numbers along the wall.I count up to twenty.The class claps on its own.I m furious, unable to explain I already learned fractions and how to purify river water.So this is what dumb feels like.I hate, hate, hate it Because of Lai s insight, I gain insight myself I can place myself in Ha s shoes in that moment I feel what she is feeling And I hurt for her I get a sense of how must it feel to be physically and verbally attacked because I look different from everyone else in the room, because I cannot speak their words, because I practice a different religion, because I am an outsider with no idea of how I can make them understand me, know me I am able to see how even good intentions can hurt, as the situation in the above poem and several others demonstrate There is so much pain in this little novel, but oh, so much hope Just beautiful.

  7. says:

    Let me tell you something If I wasn t forced to write so many essay s about this stupid book, then I might have enjoyed it Maybe if we didn t have to analyze every sentence discussing every little detail until I accidentally tear one of the papers out because we had to flip back so many times, I probably might have enjoyed it This could have been a great book, and it s a shame that the new common core thinks we are Learning from writing useless paragraphs on how Ha s experience relates to the title Don t let something like school ruin what could have been a great novel.

  8. says:

    Thinking about the most memorable of children s novels, one trait in all of them has to ring true in order for them to click with their readers The books must contain some kind of meaning Even the frothiest Charlie and the Chocolate Factory type offering isn t going to remain long in the public s brain if there isn t at least a little meaning slipped in there Now when I use the term meaning I m being purposefully vague because it s not the kind of thing you can easily define What is meaningful to one person might strike another as trite or overdone I personally believe that adult novels contain this saccharine faux meaning a lot often than their juvenile contemporaries, and why not Adult books can get away with it while children s books are read by the harshest of all possible critics children As a librarian and a reviewer, I m pretty tough too I get mighty suspicious of prose that gets a little too lyrical or characters that spout the book s thinly disguised premise on every other page All this is leading up to the fact that when I turned my jaded suspicion filled toxic eyeballs on Thanhha Lai s Inside Out and Back Again I found nothing to displease me Lai s debut novel speaks with a natural voice that s able to make salient points and emotional scenes without descending into overly sentimental goo This author makes a point to draw from her own life The result is a novel that works in every conceivable way No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama Ha has known both in her life, actually Born in Vietnam during the war, Ha lives with her mother and three older brothers Her father disappeared years ago on a navy mission when Ha was just one Today the family doesn t even know if he s alive, but when the chance comes to flee Saigon and make a new life in America, Ha s mother doesn t hesitate Once they re settled in Alabama, Ha has a whole new set of problems ahead of her She s homesick, mad that she s no longer the smartest girl in class, and tormented after school by some of the boys Yet the solution, it seems, is not to become someone different but to take what she is already and find a way to make her new life work.In a way Inside Out and Back Again kind of marks the second coming of the verse novel A couple years ago this style of writing for children was hugely popular, helped in no small part by Newbery Award winning books like Karen Hesse s Out Of The Dust For some it represented the perfect way to get to the heart of a story without unnecessary clutter Unfortunately, others regarded it as a quick and easy way to write a novel with a word count only slightly higher than your average picture book The market was saturated and finally verse novels began to peter out It finally got to the point where I became convinced that the only way a verse novel would work would be if there was some reason for it to even BE in verse If the author couldn t justify the format then why did they even choose that style of writing I haven t reviewed a verse novel since 2009 s Tropical Secrets Holocaust Refugees in Cuba by Margarita Engle and like Engle s book, Thanhha Lai s novel is written in verse for a concrete, very good reason In both cases you have stories where children were entering strange new lands where they did not necessarily know the language To make this book a verse novel, the child reader gets to be inside Ha s head while at the same time encountering sentences that are broken up in ways different from your average middle grade novel The result is simultaneously intimate and isolating It s perfect.There are a fair number of children s books about immigrants coming to America, most of them historical in some way Ha s story feels a bit contemporary since it s set in the late 20th century Other immigrant stories for kids always cover the same territory hostile neighbors, the other kids at school, strange foods, etc What I like about Lai s book is that Ha does something I ve rarely seen immigrant characters do in books for kids She gets mad I mean really rip roaring, snorting, furious Here she is, a bright kid, and now she has to feel like she s stupid all that time at school simply because English isn t her first language It s infuriating And it was this spark of anger that cinched Ha s character for me You can have a sympathetic protagonist set upon by the world all you want, but when that character exhibits an emotion other than mere passive acceptance or sorrow, that s when you find something about them to hold on to Ha s anger lets child readers really understand her It s necessary to who she is, drilled home by the section called Wishes In that two page spread, Ha discusses all the things she wishes for, including the return of her father Then, tellingly, Most I wish I were still smart Maybe what I really liked about the book was that it wasn t a one trick pony Sure, much of it is about moving to America and what that s like But it s also a novel about family Ha s brothers are hugely annoying to her when the family is living in Vietnam They re all older, after all, and they get a bit attention and freedom When the family uproots and leaves everything they ve known behind, Ha begins to connect to them in new ways She becomes a comfort and helpmate to her brother Khoi when he suffers a kind of nervous breakdown over the death of his baby chick She learns self defense from Vu, her Bruce Lee obsessed brother And of course it s her brother Quang who really saves the day for her in the end I won t give away how The change is slow in coming, which keeps it from feeling manipulative or false It s just a natural coming together of family members in a hostile world Good stuff.As for the writing itself, I m a bit tired of the term lyrical That s just personal, though, and I m sure that if you troll the professional reviews for descriptions of the book that word will surface again and again in relation to this book With good reason, of course Lai knows from which she speaks At the same time, though, she s making choices in the narrative that I found very interesting For example, at first you think that you re reading a kind of pseudo diary of Ha s life since her first two entries comes with dates February 11th and 12th, respectively Yet when you hit the third piece, it describes the ways in which Ha s brothers tease her ending, not with a specific date, but with the phrase, Every day In this way Lai is able to separate out the things that happen only once on a specific day and those things that occur frequently It s a subtle technique, but it makes the author s point Lai also makes small notes about the world that give a person pause Since this is the story of a girl moving to Alabama in the early 70s, it will probably prompt a lot of discussion in bookgroups when she says of the cafeteria, On one side of the bright, noisy room, light skin Other side, dark skin Both laughing, chewing, as if it never occurred to them someone medium would show up Lai is also able to teach kids about Vietnamese society without coming off all school marmish I knew about the holiday of Tet in a vague sense mostly from Ten Mice for Tet , but what I didn t know was that not only is Tet a Vietnamese New Year s, it s also the day everyone celebrates their own birthdays.All told, Inside Out and Back Again has the brevity of a verse novel packed with a punch many times its size It s one of the lovelier books I ve read in a long time, and can make you think about and question the entire immigrant novel genre, so long a permanent part of the American children s literary canon Lai drew upon much of her own life to write this book Now I d like to see what she s capable of when she looks at other subjects as well Great new author Great new book.For ages 9 12.

  9. says:

    I always love a good verse novel, and this book was just that A story about immigration and attempts to adapt to a new culture, Inside Out Back Again was truly beautiful and heartwarming It touched me emotionally on the struggles H had to deal with.H is different from everyone around her She is a Vietnamese girl among Americans She is the weird black haired girl in her school She is the girl everyone makes fun of Despite all this, H tries to stay strong and continues working and hoping for life to get better She works hard to learn English to overcome the differences and challenges, and I really admire her for that Another reason I loved this book is that I was able to connect and relate to her struggles Many people around the world also deal with the problem of being laughed at just because they are different from people around them, and I think this book has a really nice message for everyone to understand I now understandwhen they make fun of my name,yelling ha ha ha down the hall when they ask if I eat dog meat,barking and chewing and falling down laughingwhen they wonder if I lived in the jungle with tigers,growling and stalking on all fours.I understandbecause Brother Khoinodded into my headon the bike ride homewhen I asked if kidssaid the same thingsat his school Oh, my daughter,at times you have to fight,but preferablynot with your fists

  10. says:

    This book has been on my radar and my shelves for a while and I m glad I finally read it Told in verse from the POV of 10 year old H , we get a glimpse into life in Vietnam during the war, the journey of a refugee, and the struggles to adapt and be accepted in a new country Truly a wonderful, heartfelt and sometimes heartbreaking book.

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